The side show which Shepway District Council have used to divert the people from the bad news, may have worked on some of you but certainly not on all of you. The side show being the fact that SDC will change their name to Folkestone & Hythe District Council. The bad news which SDC have sought to distract you the people from is the fact that SDC’s borrowing levels are going to rise. If you borrow more, your debt increases. That’s the bad news which they have avoided mentioning directly and used the name change as a diversion to distract you the people.
The portfolio holders for the money at SDC are Tim Madden s151 Officer (pictured left), Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Malcolm Dearden. Of course the people ultimately responsible are Chief Executive Officer James Alistair Stewart and Cllr David Drury Monk (pictured right)
In Report C-17-72 at Paragraph 3.1 it states:
The latest projection for the total cost and funding of the General Fund capital programme from 2017/18 to 2022/23 is £23,583,000. Compared to the latest approved budget of £16,618,000 this represents an increase of £6,965,000.
Below in the chart it states also that borrowing will increase from £5.6 million to £6,7 million and increase of £1,092,000.
At Paragraph 4.3 SDC pat themselves on the back by saying:
the council’s continuing prudent financial management means it is in a position to use its other internal resources (cash reserves and balances) to fund the MTCP that is not met from external grants and contributions without resorting to new borrowing.
However, the report goes onto say:
This level of capital investment will be a significant draw upon the council’s available reserves and balances and it is unlikely this could be repeated in the future.
Furthermore at paragraph 4.5 SDC state:
Otterpool Park, Princes Parade and the Biggins Wood Development, … will have to be funded at least in part by… borrowing in the first instance.
So the question/s what if an event arrives from over the Horizon that changes all of their figures, such as SDC losing a Judicial review for anyone of the major initiatives mentioned above? The reserves will be empty and the burden will fall on the tax payer to sort out the mess.
Borrowing means SDC will have to pay any money borrowed back at a higher rate, passing this burden onto the tax payer – you or your children at a later date. That means only one thing, costs will go up, whether that’s for a wheelie bin, your council tax, or any other charges SDC raise to pay their bills. Is this “prudent financial management”? Is this value for money? We’ll leave you to decide that.
The Shepwayvox Team